RIVERS SUGGESTS MORE MOVES IN THE WORKS FOR CLIPPERS
PLAYA VISTA – A day after adding guard Darius Morris on the first 10-day contract of the season, the Clippers announced they have waived veteran forward Stephen Jackson.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers also suggested prior to Tuesday’s practice that more moves could be in the works.
“Once Chris [Paul] went down we needed guards and in my opinion, multiple guards,” he said. “We’ve already signed one and we’ll probably sign another here in the next day. It’s just what we had to do.”
Morris, who played seven minutes in his debut with the Clippers on Monday, practiced for the first time Tuesday. For now, he is the lone backup point guard on the roster with Darren Collison starting in place of Chris Paul who is expected to miss up to six weeks with an AC Joint separation in his right shoulder.
Paul’s absence, and Collison’s move to the starting lineup, left Jackson as the odd man out. The 35-year-old former NBA champion signed with the Clippers on Dec. 10 and appeared in nine games.
“Just so everyone knows he was great. He was really, really great,” Rivers said. “Stephen was everything I needed him to be, great attitude, great in the locker room, which is something that we needed from a veteran player.”
January often presents a flurry of transactions as players with non-guaranteed contracts are often waived and the ability to sign free agents to 10-day deals becomes available. Players can sign up to two 10-day contracts before the team has to decide whether or not to guarantee them for the rest of the season. Rivers said whomever the Clippers add to fill the roster spot left open by Jackson it will be via the 10-day route.
Maalik Wayns, who was waived by the Clippers on Sunday, and DaJuan Summers were added to the Clippers’ roster last season via 10-day contracts in the final months of the season before the Playoffs.
In some cases roster fluctuation could be a distraction. But Jared Dudley said that’s not likely the case for the current Clippers’ group.
“It’s not hard to stay focused,” Dudley said. “It’s the nature of the business. Sometimes it can be sad because after January where players’ contracts aren’t guaranteed so you kind of hope guys stick on. But that’s why it’s tough in this business. You have to always be prepared.”
Rivers, who along with his head coaching responsibilities is also the team’s Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, said he doesn’t see it as a distraction either, particularly because he likes the team as it is currently constructed.
“I have to do more stuff at this time of the year because you want to see who’s out there that could help your team,” Rivers said. “But I like my team. It’s not like I’m out trying to change my team. Our team’s key is growth and not change. Obviously, if there’s a change you could make to help your team you do it, but I like our team.”